Hiking to Whitewater Creek via the Gold Dust Trail
This is a somewhat difficult venture as there is significant altitude gain in the beginning, and then considerable altitude loss when you finally descend down to
Whitewater Creek. What was clear on this hike, is that the relatively exposed areas which constitute most of this hike, are getting to be questionable except during the
morning when the air is much cooler. Down by the creek it was wonderfully cool, but the slog back up out of the drainage was very taxing as the temps were in the
85-90 degree range. It is apparent at this point that most hikes of any significant duration need to be done as an overnight, going in and coming out when it is cooler.

The trailhead marker. The trail angles across the front of the hill in the background, switchbacks once, then summits this hill. After that the trail continues more or less around the subsequent hills with a few ups and downs, then descends several hundred feet down to Whitewater Creek.

Looking down onto the Whitewater Creek drainage. That is said with a considerable amount of tongue in cheek, as Whitewater Creek, in spite of the fact that it has a very good flow through the canyon, as soon as stumbles out into this drainage, immediately sinks into the rocks never to be seen again. Only during significant rainfall is a creek here

In the morning you are blessed with a lot of shade, in the afternoon? Not so much.

One of the many floral displays that are beginning to appear. The cacti are also flowering out

Later in the day, this gentleman was fully opened and much more striking

So many smells, so little time

Maxie always seems to be saying, "What a bunch of bloody slowpokes!"

On up to the high point where the trail heads down to the river

New Mexico is short on water, but long on fascinating geology

A hoodoo guarding the trail

These are actually alien beings. They turn into a cactus as you go by.

Companions for today's hike, Bogdan and George


Ooops, forgot about the other companion, sister Sally

One of these days, the seismometers will bounce off the table with this baby falls :-)

Finally starting down to the creek

This tree has picked an especially sketchy place to set up housekeeping

The star attraction. Cool, and shady. Great place to eat lunch. Remember, all this water disappears into the rocks at the end of the canyon

Maxie, always leading. Notice sister Sally struggling up the hill below

Beautiful day, just bloody warm!

This picture just can't convey the actual height of this local. It towered over us as we struggled by

Contact: The Hiker... or the Goats!